Joe Ross was lifted from his last start after just 3 1⁄3 innings over which he gave up three hits, two walks, and three earned runs in what ended up a 10-5 win over the Atlanta Braves. It wasn’t about the results, however, though the two walks were in front of Freddie Freeman, who promptly hit a game-tying, three-run home run.
Ross’s velocity was noticeably down in the outing, and after a visit from Pitching Coach Mike Maddux, team trainer Paul Lessard and Nats’ skipper Dusty Baker, the 24-year-old right-hander was lifted.
“We saw his velocity was like 89-88,” Baker explained after the game, “and then Mike saw something and we decided to take Joe out, and especially when he walked those two guys in front of Freddie, those balls weren’t even close, and usually that’s not Joe, so he has some triceps tenderness and he’s in taking an MRI right now so we don’t know the results yet.”
Though Ross has had his velocity drop before this season, and was sent to the Nats’ top minor league affiliate at one point to straighten out his mechanics and arm slot, Baker said he thought the latest problem was something new.
“I think it popped up today because he didn’t throw a pen,” Baker explained, “cause he was going to be needed just like Tanner [Roark] possibly in the bullpen, which you do at the end of the first half, it’s kind of all hands on deck.
“So he didn’t throw a pen the other day, so to the best of my knowledge, it just popped up today.”
According to the Nationals, in a press release on a number of moves today, Ross has been placed on the 10-Day DL retroactive to July 11th with a right elbow sprain, and the Nationals state specifically in the press release that he suffered the injury in that outing.
In 13 starts this season, Ross is (5-3) with a 5.01 ERA, 4.98 FIP, 20 walks (2.44 BB/9), 68 Ks, and 16 home runs allowed in 73 2⁄3 IP after he gave up 16 home runs in his first 181 2⁄3 IP over his first two seasons in the Nationals’ rotation.
The Nationals called up both Trevor Gott and Austin Adams this afternoon, after they optioned Sammy Solis to Triple-A over the All-Star Break, but one of the two relievers will likely return to the minors after the series in Cincinnati since the Nats will need a starter to take Ross’s next turn in the rotation.
Washington Post writer Chelsea Janes reported earlier this afternoon that Ross was going to have an MRI arthrogram on the elbow, though it’s unclear if that latest test took place before this afternoon’s announcement.